Scarlets emerged in the latter half of the decade as Wales’ strongest region so it is no surprise their team of the decade contains some seriously talented players and leaves out some big names.
They capped the decade by winning the 2017 Guinness PRO12 final in Dublin, defeating Munster at Aviva Stadium the weekend after they beat Leinster at the RDS. The region then went on to reach a Heineken Champions Cup semi-final the following year.
15. Liam Williams
Despite a number of excellent candidates, Williams has to be the choice here. Outstanding in attack and defence, reliable under the high ball, he has been consistently superb as the last man. He even stepped up to kick as Scarlets closed out matches in their league title-winning run of 2016/17.
14. Johnny McNicholl
Steff Evans is hugely unfortunate to miss out on a spot given his irrepressible spark in attack and importance to the 16/17 season, but McNicholl’s all-round game just about gives him the edge. He has been consistently brilliant since his arrival.
13. Jonathan Davies
Could it be anyone else? The sight of Davies handing off opposition players with glee as he storms towards the line is enough to warm up fans on even the coldest Llanelli day. His return from Clermont in 2016 was only one part of the puzzle for then-coach Wayne Pivac, but it felt decisive.
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RugbyPass went behind the scenes when Leinster won the 2018 Guinness PRO14 final in Dublin
12. Scott Williams
It seems bizarre in some ways to leave out Hadleigh Parkes who now seems to be such a fixture in the current Scarlets and Wales XVs. But nine seasons of service, 135 appearances, 23 tries (and a conversion for good measure) see Williams clinch the spot. He was an excellent servant to the region.
11. George North
It has been a long time since North ran out in Scarlets colours but there is no doubt that his almost unstoppable period at the region was when he played his best rugby. DTH van der Merwe is a big name unlucky to miss out.
10. Stephen Jones
Arguably the most contested position in this side, with both Rhys Patchell and Rhys Priestland having been excellent for Scarlets. But Jones’ consistency, leadership and reliability made him so important then and deserving of this spot.
Brad Mooar has made a telling impression at @scarlets_rugby in a short space of time… @OwainJTJones quizzes the All Blacks-bound coach on his methodology and fondness for West Wales https://t.co/D6XzB9TmX8
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 7, 2020
9. Gareth Davies
In recent years, the man known as Cawdor has shown Wales fans what his electric pace, fearless defence and instinct for an intercept can do for a side, but he has been putting in those shifts out west for some time. Not always the best passer of the ball but trusted in the big games for a reason.
1. Phil John
With hands and instincts like Gethin Jenkins, Rob Evans would make this position were it not for John’s 330 appearances over two decades. A proper regional servant who always put a shift in.
2. Ken Owens
Unquestionable selection despite the quality that Scarlets have had in the No2 jersey over the decade. Owens is happy to regularly put in the full 80 minutes and his leadership, talent and work ethic never waver. Will surely go down as a regional icon.
3. Samson Lee
Has never quite delivered on his promise but has been reliable on the tighthead since 2011. His occasional execution of some of the flashier stuff shows how hard he continues to work on all aspects of his game.
4. Jake Ball
There have been some very handy locks for Scarlets over the decade but Ball has probably made the biggest contribution. In addition to all the grunt work he does, he is often essential in some of Scarlets’ attacking breaks.
5. Tadhg Beirne
Only spent two years in Wales but what a two years. He arrived as a promising lock so ravaged by injuries that he was close to quitting the game and left with a PRO12 title, PRO14 runners-up medal, a Champions Cup semi-final spot and the promise of an international call-up before he decided to return to Ireland. Made a huge impact.
Welsh talent ID in England is nothing new but with a new seam of gifted players plying their trade over the border, the battle to wear red or white shows no signs of letting up
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 23, 2019
6. Aaron Shingler
A blindside who can score a 70-metre solo try, although not one afraid of the dirty work. Shingler has been a big presence in the lineout and has an offload game perfect for Scarlets. Started at the region in 2008 and doesn’t look like slowing down.
7. James Davies
In a team with a style like Scarlets, back row forwards are always going to be essential to snaffle opposition ball and speed up their own. ‘Cubby Boi’ has been a huge part of the side’s success with his breakdown work. His sevens background has also been crucial, especially his comfort covering the wing in major games.
8. John Barclay
There have been many non-Welsh players taken into the hearts of Scarlets fans but Barclay is up there with the best of them – and deservedly so. His leadership during the PRO12 title run-in, with Owens injured, was huge. Ben Morgan was a more natural No8 but Barclay was too good to leave out.
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